Illegal migrants can apply to stay, cabinet confirms

Illegal migrants can apply to stay, cabinet confirms

The cabinet yesterday approved the registration of illegal migrant workers, allowing them to stay in the country for two years, in a bid to contain the novel coronavirus.

Deputy government spokeswoman Traisuree Taisaranakul said online registration would take place from Jan 25-Feb 13 and would allow Cambodian, Lao and Myanmar migrants to work in the country for two years, or until Feb 16, 2023.

Ms Traisuree said many migrant workers were found to be infected in the latest Covid-19 outbreak but when the government tried to test more of them in at-risk areas, many employers moved them to other areas for fear of legal action, and several illegal migrants also fled for fear of prosecution.

After the online registration is completed, health officials will conduct physical check-ups and Covid-19 tests. The costs of the tests and the required two-year health insurance, totalling 7,200 baht, must be met by the workers or their employers.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said it was important that business owners cooperated by telling the authorities how many workers they needed. "It is the factory owners' responsibility. If we find later there was no information submission or miss from the truth and find employment of illegal workers, [the factory] will be on the blacklist," he said.

Meanwhile, a group of 32 Myanmar and Cambodian nationals have been arrested and accused of entering Thailand illegally in Aranyaprathet district, Sa Kaeo. The raid took place at a construction site in tambon Tha Kham after a tipoff by local residents.

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